Australian Experiences at the Kokoda Track
Kokoda Track, one of the most vital battles in World War II, was the last defense against invasion of Australia by the Japanese. The soldiers who fought on the Kokoda Track had to experience some of the most severe climate and terrain of WWII. They were not prepared for it. The troops (many of whom who were conscripted) were young and inexperienced as well as naïve as to what they were about to endure. A large shortage of troops and supplies for the Kokoda battle, and a poor understanding of war by the troops were major disadvantages, yet the Australians persevered and were determined and managed to win the battle of Kokoda. Many of the troops kept their mental and physical battle scars for life.
The soldiers went into the battle not knowing what the terrain or climate would be like. They believed it would be white sandy beaches, with “dancing Polynesian girls”, however this was most certainly not what it was like. The climate had been expected to be tropical, and in fact it was, but the climate caused the Kokoda Track to be unexpectedly harsh. The men trekked through humid, hot days with humid, yet inclement nights. The soldiers were never dry, either drenched with sweat or drenched with the daily downpour of rain in the rainforest they trekked through. The terrain was also very unexpected by the Australians. It was full of steep ascending and descending mountains (Saf – how high up and down?). One source stated “the arduous climbing and the terrain itself was absolutely unbelievable… “ A general statement found throughout the sources was that the terrain and climate had been the most demanding, arduous, and challenging part of the entire campaign. It was described as a ‘physical nightmare’ in the ABC documentary “Kokoda.” Together, the climate and terrain, added to it being difficult for the Australians to conquer Kokoda as planned. These were two of the leading impacts the Australians were forced to endure -...
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